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THE FISHERMAN'S TOP 20 FISHING SONGS OF ALL TIME

Check out this top 20 list of Best Fishing-Related Songs and see if your favorite made the list. Also, be sure to let us know if you think we missed any glaring choices!
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.

Sure, this top 20 list of best fishing songs of all time is almost purely subjective; and we know there are probably another dozen great tunes that were not included here that could easily qualify as a great fishing song.

But as the guitar player on the Clearwater, FL strip told a group of hecklers, “I don’t do Buffett and he don’t do me.”

That said, what’d we miss? Please, tell us, what’s your favorite fishing song? Let’s see if we can collect a few more at The Fisherman’s Facebook page, or feel free to email jhutchinson@thefisherman.com.

John Prine - Fish and Whistle. The opening track to his 1978 Bruised Orange album, Fish and Whistle is more than just a simple ditty, but it sure plays that way. More of an observation of life’s more trivial and mundane necessities, it also examines our sometimes flawed relations as human beings on planet earth. But when it comes time for the chorus, you’ll be whistling along to the simplicity of it all at the end. “We’ll forgive each other til’ we both turn blue then we’ll whistle and go fishing in a heaven.”
Fish and Whistle

Leo Kottke – The Fisherman. It’s probably cliché that The Fisherman would tab a song called The Fisherman as one of our top fishing songs, but try popping this song into the I-Pod next time you’re bounding down a country road - you can thank us later. A virtuoso on both the 6- and 12-string guitars (the album where this song appears is 6- and 12-String Guitar), Leo Kottke’s unique, hard-driving finger-picking style would eventually lead to his tendinitis. Written in Minnesota, this frolicking instrumental was based on hardcore ice fishermen whose personal hardwater spots resembled national shrines.
The Fisherman

Dr. John - I’m Gonna Go Fishin.’ Originally composed by Duke Ellington and sung by the likes of Peggy Lee and Mel Torme, this jazzy selection takes a more gritty appeal in the hands of New Orleans great Dr. John on the album Duke Elegant. A double meaning to this one no doubt, the author is wronged by a lady who he calls a “sweet talking liar” with stories “big as a barn.” Dr. John does what any good fisherman would do when faced with a relationship problem – “I’m gonna go fishing.”
I'm Gonna Go Fishin'

Billy Joel – Downeaster Alexa. A song about Long Island baymen whose livelihoods have been encroached upon by urban transplants (namely Manhattan socialites taking over Montauk) and restrictive government limits on fishing harvest (an argument for another day). Billy Joel has always been a staunch advocate for commercial fishermen, and at one time was also a subscriber to The Fisherman. Named after his daughter, Alexa Ray, Joel’s own 46-foot downeaster was built by Jarvis Newman with the hull custom finished by Lee S. Wilbur and Company of Manset, Maine.
Downeaster Alexa

G. Love & Special Sauce – Fishing Song. Most folks don’t know that former Sixers’ great Allen Iverson often booked bluefish charters on the Jersey Shore. What’s that have to do with this song? Maybe nothing; except that Garret Dutton, AKA G. Love, was an old school Philly hip hop kid who went on to form a band at a Boston Bar called the Tam O'Shanter in the early 90’s and then recorded a great song about Interstate 76 and South Philly’s hoops team - and this one about fishing, so to speak. Team loyalties aside, the one thing Boston and Philly fans can mutually agree upon is fishing – and cold beverages.
Fishing Song

Elvin Bishop – Fishin’. Fooled Around and Fell in Love is the most popular single by blues guitarist Elvin Bishop, appearing on his 1975 album Struttin' My Stuff and peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart by 1976. Prior to that in ‘74, Bishop released a slightly less chart-worthy country/blues album called Let It Flow which featured the Allmans, Charlie Daniels and Sly Stone. In Fishin’, the blues guitar great sings “some folks say that fishin' on Sunday's a sin,” but a few riffs later admits, “I don't see nothin wrong with fishin’ on Sunday at all.” And we all sing - I'm goin' fish-fish, fish-fish, fish-fish, fishin' just to ease my mind.
Fishin'

Bing Crosby/ Louis Armstrong – Gone Fishin.’ This 1951 classic features two of the greatest, most recognizable voices of their generation in an ode to slackin’ off in favor of far more important things. “Every time I go out to your place, you gone fishin’,” Bing sings. “I’m real gone man,” Satchmo says of his time on the water, until eventually both Mister Satch and Mister Cros have both “gone fishin’ instead of just a wishin’.” Nine years after this release, the duo would eventually team for a full album of duets, but this one stands on its own as an ode to the finer things in life. Bah boo baby bah boo bah bay mmm bo bay; or something like that.
Gone Fishin'

Luke Bryan – Tackle Box. “My mother’s father had a tackle box that, as a child, I would go through all the time,” country music star Luke Bryan said of this song off his first album, I’ll Stay Me. “The song is about the wonderful times I had together with both of my grandfathers.” A Georgia native who has spent significant time fishing Florida’s Forgotten Coast, Bryan describes that old tackle box as scratched up and two shades of brown, but priceless all the same. “I'm still holdin' on to one more wish, that God above would let be borrow Grandpa for one more afternoon and one more fish,” sings Bryan, a stanza surely appreciated by millions of anglers.
Tackle Box

Every Mother’s Son – Come On Down To My Boat. A late 60’s pop rock band from New York City, Every Mother’s Son originally performed as a folk duo with brothers Dennis and Larry Larden. Their song Come on Down to My Boat appeared on their premiere self-titled album ranked #22 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 songs of 1967. “She sits on the dock a fishin' in the water uh, huh, I don't know her name she's the fisherman's daughter uh, huh,” the band sings, trying their best to coax a sweet lass away from daddy’s watchful eye. “Fish all day, sleep all night, father never lets her out of his sight.”
Come On Down To My Boat

Van Morrison – And It Stoned Me. Recorded in the summer of 1969, some think the song is an ode to psychedelics. Actually, the Irish singer-songwriter said the song was influenced by a spiritual experience as a young boy on his way to fish a place called Ballystockart. “We stopped in the village on the way up to this place and I went to this little stone house, and there was an old man there with dark weather-beaten skin, and we asked him if he had any water,” Morrison told biographer Steve Turner in Too Late To Stop Now. “He gave us some water which he said he'd got from the stream. We drank some and everything seemed to stop for me. Time stood still.” With fold-up fishing rod and tackle on my back, I could play this one over and over again.
And It Stoned Me


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